Australia Immigration levels hit 10-year low under Dutton

01:44  13 july  2018
01:44  13 july  2018 Source:   9news.com.au

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The number of people permanently migrating to Australia has dropped 10 percent, with official figures reaching the lowest level in more than a decade.

Tough new vetting rules imposed by Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton has seen the annual intake cut by 21,000 people, The Australian reports.

A crackdown on fraudulent claims and more visa refusals has also contributed to the drop, the largest in more than 10 years.

Immigration now stands at less than 163,000 people annually from a previous peak of 190,000. The 2007-08 recorded intake was 158,630.

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Dutton's new integrity measures have also led to a 46 percent rise in visa refusals and a 17 percent increase in application withdrawals.

a group of people posing for the camera: The number of people permanently migrating to Australia has dropped 10 percent, with official figures reaching the lowest level in more than a decade. Picture: AAP © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd The number of people permanently migrating to Australia has dropped 10 percent, with official figures reaching the lowest level in more than a decade. Picture: AAP

"The government has had real focus on making sure not only we restored integrity to our border but (also) to our permanent migration program," Mr Dutton told 9NEWS' Ben Fordham.

"Looking more closely at the applications that are made. Making sure that we're bringing the best migrants possible into our country.

"In the end we want our migration program to work in our country's best interests."

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The number of illegal immigrants apprehended at the southwest border in 2017 hit a 45- year low , but the Department of Homeland Security warned the numbers cannot continue to decrease without changes to long-standing immigration policy.

In February, Dutton publicly called for immigration levels to be cut. The Australian reported last week that with tighter “vetting” methods undertaken by the Department of Home Affairs, the intake for 2017-18 was expected to hit a 10 - year low of between 160,000 and 170,000.

Mr Dutton has accused the previous Labor governments of "ticking and flicking applications", claiming that the Turnbull government, on the other hand, is applying close scrutiny to all applications.

"If we're right, we end up with a better migration intake," he said.

a group of people holding a sign posing for the camera: Immigration now stands at less than 163,000 people annually from a previous peak of 190,000. Picture: AAP © Provided by Nine Digital Pty Ltd Immigration now stands at less than 163,000 people annually from a previous peak of 190,000. Picture: AAP

The changes have seen an annual fall in skilled migrations by more than 12,000.

Mr Dutton previously suggested a drop in the official migrant ceiling from 190,000 to 170,000 to colleagues – though no official attempts to enforce this were made.

The current ceiling was introduced under Malcolm Turnbull, replacing Labor's generalised "target" of 190,000.

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